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July 27, 2012

Fashion One Thrives Under Female Focus

Since launching in April 2010, two-year-old channel Fashion One is now in 60 mil. 24-hour TV homes across various pay-TV networks in South America, Europe, Africa and Asia-Pacific. Carving its own share of the fashion & entertainment market has been challenging for the brand however, which is the first pay-TV venture of the Bigfoot group of companies. This has largely been because its competitor Fashion TV, which has been in play since 1997, is already carried by more operators who may not want to carry more than one fashion channel.

Surprisingly though, Fashion TV’s largest demographic is men, who account for 65% of its viewers. This has left an underserved niche in the fashion & entertainment space (i.e. a predominantly female audience) that Fashion One has targeted since launch.

By broadcasting in native HD and maintaining a 70% female audience share, Fashion One aims to: (1) Offer pay-TV operators a specialized channel to reach an affluent female demographic via fashion and entertainment content; and (2) Provide a female-focused advertising space for major fashion brands traditionally associated with women, such as Chanel, Gucci, Louis Vuitton and Prada, which are now among the channel’s partners. However, Fashion One’s target revenue split is different for each market.

Having its own production house – sister company Bigfoot Studios, which produces Fashion One’s original content – saves a lot in production costs and affords greater flexibility in product-placement advertising than most other pay-TV channels.

“We already have innate product placement in every single frame of our content so it’s huge advertising. There’s so much we can do with the advertising now and in the future,” said Ashley Jordan, Fashion One’s CEO in an exclusive interview with Media Research Asia. “People are very worried about the advertising model, whereas I am very excited about it changing because I think it can only benefit us actually.”

Located in Cebu island in the Philippines, Bigfoot Studios is equipped with six sound stages, a Dolby Mix theater, ADR, foley and editing suites. Built in 2004 originally to produce feature films for another business venture under the Bigfoot Group, Bigfoot Studios is now 100%-dedicated to developing content for the Fashion One business.

Reality programming is a key primetime strategy
Reality and scripted reality shows are the pillars of Fashion One’s primetime programming. Furthermore, the greater level of audience engagement from reality shows can be leveraged to bring content and advertising to other platforms.

“That’s content that usually people are talking about and it's also a great way to break out from TV. It’s a really nice way to cross-platform advertise,” Jordan said.

Reality shows account for about 20% of Fashion One’s content. The channel also airs feature films, fashion news, documentaries and event coverage. Fashion One flies its actors to Bigfoot Studios where the shows are shot and used alongside additional footage to make it appear that the program is set elsewhere.

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“We’re restricted to sound stages and beaches because it’s not the fashion capital of the world, but it’s amazing how much stuff we can do with that,” said Jordan.

“We can also do a scripted show that takes place in a New York. We do a lot of the interiors there and shoot the exteriors in New York and we have a show. That’s the magic of TV and the movies.” she added.

The studios also enable the channel to localize content for various markets, such as a series in Chinese with an all-Chinese cast that was recently completed. Compared to last year, Fashion One has already doubled the number of content hours produced per month, and aims to triple this by end-2012.

“There’s obviously gonna be that small percentage that’s more filler content, like late night where people want more passive content that maybe will go up on screens at clubs, but it can’t be a 24-7 channel like that, it just doesn’t end up working ultimately,” Jordan said.

As Bigfoot Group’s first pay-TV foray, Fashion One is still years away from breakeven but aims to be profitable by 2020. There are also plans to leverage Bigfoot Studios in launching another channel in a different genre, but not for a few more years.

“We need a little bit more time with this and it gives us time to properly watch the next one,” said Jordan. “It’s a surprise,” she said, when asked what genre the new channel would occupy.